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Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat Update: 10 Things to Expect



Samsung still isn’t talking about the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update but thanks to recent details and leaks, we know that a Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat is coming. In fact, rumors say that the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update release could come next month. With that in mind, we want to detail what we expect from Samsung’s missing update.

Earlier this month, Samsung delivered its first Android 4.4 KitKat update in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. The update is currently rolling out to users and has already generated a bit of controversy thanks to an “issue” that prevented some third-party accessories from working with the device.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update is the first KitKat update from Samsung but it certainly will not be the last. The company still hasn’t confirmed anything for its other Galaxy devices but it’s pretty clear that the next major Android 4.4 KitKat update is going to be for the Samsung Galaxy S4, its other flagship model.

Leaks, rumors, and history all point to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update being next in line. Samsung itself hasn’t confirmed anything of course but whispers suggest that the update is extremely close to rolling out. With that in mind, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update.

Here is what we expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 update’s release date, features and more.

Android 4.4 KitKat Release in February or March

At this point, Samsung Galaxy S4 users should feel comfortable circling the months of February and March on the calendar. Right now, these look like the two release windows for the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We know that based on two rumors, one from SamMobile and the other from Android Geeks and we know that thanks to French carrier SFR.


SFR claims that the update will be rolling out in January or February. January is almost up which puts the focus on February, a month that falls in line with the rumors. Originally, rumors suggested January for a roll out though we heard a few days ago that the update isn’t quite ready for a release.

If the update rolls out beyond March, it will be due to issues Samsung’s having with Android 4.4 KitKat. However, given that the Galaxy Note 3 already got its update, we have a good feeling that Samsung is on track.

Mysterious Release Date

Expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to push on a random date. Sure, we’ve heard about release windows but rumors rarely are able to pinpoint an exact date for Galaxy Android updates. Samsung also rarely announces release dates ahead of time.

So instead of a specific roll out date, expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to appear out of thin air, just like the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update did. No rumored release dates, no real warning signs, just the start of a massive Android roll out.

International Models First

Galaxy S4 users should expect Samsung to start with international variants of the Galaxy S4 before shifting to carrier-branded and more specific variants of the device. Samsung updates almost always start with unbranded versions of its international variants and the company usually rolls out its updates in stages instead of rolling them out all at once like Apple.

We saw this exact thing happen with the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update, and many Samsung updates before it, and we’re expecting it to happen with the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update as well.

Updates for All U.S. Carriers

Samsung Galaxy S4 users in the United States should expect an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat. We’ve already seen the AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update leak, confirming its existence, and we expect other carriers to be on the same page.

That means AT&T and Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon at the very least and we also expect regional and pre-paid carriers to update their Galaxy S4 variants with Android 4.4 KitKat as well. Smaller U.S. carriers are typically behind the major carriers when it comes to timing though we have seen carriers like C Spire Wireless beat major carriers to updates in the past.

The Galaxy S4 wireless charger slips inside the back, so cases still work.

Point is, expect all U.S. carriers to update their Galaxy S4 with this update.

Unpredictable U.S. Releases

Even when supposed release dates emerge for U.S. carriers, it doesn’t mean that dates are necessarily locked down. With the Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S4, we saw a document propose a number of release dates for U.S. carriers. A few of them were dead on, but most of them were dead wrong.

We could see a metal Samsung Galaxy S4 in early 2014.

They were likely target dates and while carriers haven’t said why they missed their targets, it was likely due to testing. Software testing is unpredictable and it has the ability to push target release dates. It’s also a reason why U.S. carriers never announce specific release dates ahead of time, they don’t want to let down their users.

Rumors very rarely nail down U.S. Android update release dates so Galaxy S4 owners in the United States should expect extremely unpredictable release dates. Sometimes AT&T takes the lead, other times its Sprint. It’s usually pretty random though Verizon has been known to be extremely late to software upgrades.

Slow Roll Out

As a whole, expect the Android 4.4 KitKat update to roll out slowly to the Samsung Galaxy S4. While the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 updates started rolling out in October and November, there are still devices that are without Android 4.3. This is typical. It usually takes a few months for these updates to finish up.


So indeed, there will be some owners that get the update on day one but we expect the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update roll out to extend over the course of several weeks, if not several months.


Those who are extremely impatient can install the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update now. It will require some know how, the proper Galaxy S4 variant and a stomach for unofficial but official test firmware, but the update is available. As we mentioned, it’s also available for AT&T Galaxy S4 owners.

Already, we’ve seen the update leak out three times, which is more than most updates. However, we do expect it to leak out again before the update arrives. We almost always see a leak emerge just ahead of the actual release so we’re expecting there to be another piece of test firmware on the horizon for Galaxy S4 owners.

Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Very simply, expect the version of Android to be Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest from Google. It’s the version that rolled out to the Galaxy Note 3 and it’s the version that we’ve seen emerge in the leaks.

Incremental Features

Leaks also suggest that this will be an incremental upgrade for the Samsung Galaxy S4. Users should expect from UI tweaks and some of the features from Android 4.4 KitKat including emoji support. We should also see a bump in all around performance thanks to some optimizations courtesy of Google and Samsung.


The Galaxy Note 3 was also an incremental upgrade, meaning it didn’t bring any wide sweeping changes to the software, and we’re expecting the Galaxy S4 update to be on par with that update.

Samsung’s rumored update TouchWiz, the one that is supposedly going to debut on the Galaxy S5, might hit the Galaxy S4 in the future. We just expect it to land with another Android update, not Android 4.4 KitKat.

Android 4.4 KitKat Update Problems

Galaxy S4 users should expect Android 4.4 KitKat to fix a lot of the issues that are currently on board Android 4.3 Jelly Bean but certainly, not all of them. We also expect Android 4.4 KitKat to bring some problems of its own. Connectivity issues and battery life problems almost always emerge after major Android updates so we expect those to be prominent issues.


Prior to the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat, we highly suggest taking a look at our Samsung Galaxy S4 battery life tips. They will help not only in the build up to Android 4.4 KitKat but perhaps, after Android 4.4 KitKat arrives as well.



  1. Allen Crenshaw

    01/28/2014 at 8:46 pm

    On the one hand, the author says that this KitKat update isn’t a big deal, so don’t stay awake at night looking forward to it. On the other hand, later in the article, he says that major updates like this cause connection and battery problems. I suppose the bottom line is DO NOT LOOK FORWARD TO THIS KITKAT UPDATE. Right?

  2. Chuck Church

    01/29/2014 at 3:47 am

    I’m hoping that above any new features, it solves this wi-fi catastrophe that 4.3 brought about.

  3. Belinda Lovett

    01/29/2014 at 11:05 am

    This is the biggest waste of space I have ever seen. The author said the same thing 10 times. Is that was he meant by “10 things to expect” I want to know if the battery life problem is going to be fixed. Or if the special effects on the Galaxy 3 camera that were taken away by jellybean are going to be back. Or if they fixed the auto spelling correction that is now tied to the predictive text. There are probably 10 other problems that need fixing that I haven’t discovered yet. I hate myself for updating the thing. I punched “later” 100 times but accidently updated!!! I have called my carrier, Samsung Customer Service and mad a trip to a corporate store. Not Happy!!!

    • Joe

      01/29/2014 at 9:35 pm

      I agree with you, plus I think they need to fix the touchwiz app so it never asks me again if I want to use the easy mode or the normal!

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